Thursday, February 05, 2009

Yes, Buenos Aires has tube strikes as well...

Not the most active day either. After a lie-in (having concluded that the hostel breakfast wasn't really worth getting up for) I went for another wander around town, heading up to the Congreso, the seat of Argentina's parliament, which is very impressive, but didn't look as much so as it might have done given the grey skies behind it and the raindrops which suddenly made an unwelcome reappearance. I tried escaping into internet cafes, but had a couple of slightly weird experiences - the first one would not allow me to look at the Hostelworld website I use to book beds ahead of time, firmly announcing on-screen that this site may contain adult content and the browser would be closed; and the second one had a mouse with the sensitivity settings set way too high so that controlling the thing was nigh-on impossible. After the minor success of at least managing to speak to Mum on Skype, I gave up on this and made my way home, a journey enlivened by the unwelcome discovery that on this wet day the tube drivers had gone on strike, so the subway I had been planning to take was not running.

I was due to meet up with Ana again in the evening, but had time to make a diversion to Buller's Downtown, the city centre pub for a microbrewery based out in Recoleta (which I had frustratingly been within about 100 yards of when visiting the cemetery, without even realising it). There I had a sample tray, allowing me to taste their full range (Light Lager, Hefeweizen, Honey Beer, Oktoberfest, IPA, Stout) and subsequently had time for an additional pint of the Honey Beer (not too sweet, nicely balanced and surprisingly drinkable for an 8.5% beer - the IPA, on the other hand, was a trifle disappointing, with very little hop taste). I also ended up chatting in my broken Spanish with a couple of the bar staff, as a result of which I now know the Spanish words for bitter (amarga) and hops (lupulos). Having just made it back in time to meet up with Ana, we then wandered off to explore a bar she knew called Bellgamba, which is an amazing place, full of old photos and posters and beer bottles, really atmospheric. After one or two other stops along the way, I walked her back to her place and then made my way back to the hostel, as I had to be up bright and early for my departure to Uruguay in the morning.